Setting Jesus’ temptation in the city is difficult, as most of the story takes place in the desert. However, the very last scene is Jesus being led to the top of the temple by the devil.
St George’s Tron Church of Scotland has a clock tower which Iain and filmmaker Ross Wiseman climbed to source the images for this painting. Initially Iain planned just to have an image of Jesus looking out over the city, but the photographs that he took were too closely cropped in to give a sense of the drama of the cityscape.
A friend of the project’s, Oliver McKee, was behind Iain and Ross taking video of their progress up the tower, and when the film was reviewed a still image was found which formed the basis of this painting.
The image of a photographer alongside the figure representing Jesus has caused many people to reflect on contemporary issues of fame, social media pressure and suicide.
Jesus is tested in the wilderness
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’
Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone.”’
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.’
Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”’
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘“He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’
Jesus answered, ‘It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Luke 4:1-13 (NIVUK)